Jimmie Johnson: IndyCar, Rolex 24, Le Mans on wish list

Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who is attending NTT IndyCar Series Spring Training at Circuit of The Americas, has reiterated that retiring from stock cars at the end of this year will open up possibilities to explore other forms of racing.

Jimmie Johnson: IndyCar, Rolex 24, Le Mans on wish list

Johnson announced last November that he would be retiring from full-time NASCAR competition at the end of 2020 but again confirmed what he said in September, and in November 2018  – that he wants to try several other branches of the sport, including IndyCar and sportscars.

Asked by IndyCar.com why he was attending the open test in the week of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 – a race he has won twice – Johnson replied: “Just to look around and have some fun. I have some great friends who live here in Austin, great friends in this garage area including friends at McLaren. You might remember I did that Formula 1 swap with Fernando [Alonso] a couple of years ago now.

“And I just wanted to check it out – I love Austin, I’ve always wanted to come to this racetrack, and hopefully we’ll get some cars on track and I can see some action.”

NBC presenter Leigh Diffey, conducting the interview, said that during Media Content day NBC had asked several IndyCar drivers with whom they would like to perform a ride swap and that Johnson’s name “kept coming up.” Asked if he might drive an IndyCar one day, the 44-year-old Californian replied: “First thing is, a seat swap with any of these guys would be a huge honor and it makes me smile hearing they would want to swap with me.

“But yeah, IndyCar is something I grew up as a kid dreaming to race. Growing up in Southern California, I can’t tell you how many times I attended the Long Beach Grand Prix. A lot of my heroes like Rick Mears came from off-road racing, such as I, and went into Indy cars, so it’s always been on my radar. My path took me to NASCAR.

“I have no clue what ’21 holds for me, but I’m open and we’ll see where the year goes and what develops, and if there was the right opportunity, I would certainly consider it.”

Probed further as to whether IndyCar is “a box [he] would like to check,” Johnson replied, “That’s a great way to put it and certainly where my head space is. IndyCar is an option, sportscars is definitely an option. I’ve finished second twice in the Rolex 24 and I’d love to go back and have a shot at standing on the top box. Le Mans has always been on my wish-list.

“You mentioned off-road – I’d love to go back and do the Mint 400 again or the Parker 400 – some of those courses I really enjoyed in short course off-road racing. I’m really open, and checking boxes… that’s what ’21 and beyond will be about – in the car.

“Out of the car, there’s a lot I want to do. I want to have a better balance in life with my family, I wanna go do some heli skiing – I love to ski. I’ve always had the idea of doing a full-distance Iron Man, there’s some mountain bike races I’m interested in… So ’21 and beyond is about checking those boxes.”

Asked if anything could be read into his presence as a guest of Arrow McLaren SP, Johnson remained coy, replying: “Certainly possibilities exist up and down the garage with various relationships I have. I’m just very happy that Zak [Brown, McLaren CEO] invited me out. We’ve become great friends through the car swap two years ago with Fernando, and I accepted the invitation.”

Johnson later reinforced again that oval racing in IndyCar is an opportunity “that’s probably passed”.

shares
comments
Porsche firms up 2020 Le Mans line-ups

Previous article

Porsche firms up 2020 Le Mans line-ups

Next article

Rosenqvist set for Le Mans return with DragonSpeed

Rosenqvist set for Le Mans return with DragonSpeed
Load comments
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious? Prime

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 25, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Prime

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there? By David Malsher-Lopez.

Formula 1
May 19, 2021
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Prime

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021
Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy Prime

Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy

Tino Belli, IndyCar’s director of aerodynamic development, believes the changes to the underside of the cars will allow them to run closer at Indy and make passes. The moment of truth comes on its biggest stage, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
May 10, 2021
Colton Herta – America's next racing hero Prime

Colton Herta – America's next racing hero

Last Sunday, Colton Herta demolished his IndyCar opposition in the second round of the season. David Malsher-Lopez explains why Andretti Autosport’s youngest ace bears all the hallmarks of becoming the country’s next homegrown motorsport hero.

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021